M.C. Jain, J.
1. The petitioner, by this writ petition, seeks to quash the Notification No. Exam./Deb/79/3434-3683 dated October 12, 1979, issued by the Registrar, University of Udaipur, Udaipur, where by the petitioner's M.A. Sociology I Semester Examination (in course No. 514(8) Sociology) was cancelled and he was further debarred from appearing in three subsequent Semesters, to pursuance of the decision of the Executive Committee held on 11-10-1979, as the petitioner was found guilty of using unfair mean, at the Examination held on 21-7-1979.
2. The petitioner's case is that she petitioner was served notice Annexure 1 dated September 10, 1979, whereby he was interned that a report had been received from the Centre of Examination to the effect that of July 21, 1979, he was found copying from a paper which was lying below his copy and paper. While taking away that paper, he resisted and because of that paper was torn into two pieces. He was further informed that the examiner concerned after scrutinising the incriminating material/report received the Centre has confirmed that he had made use of the material found in his possession. He was further informed that according to the rules of unfair-means of the University, Results Committee after examination of the relevant material/report had proposed awarding the punishment inflicted on him subject to the approval of the Executive Committee for possession of material and copying Under the rules he was thereupon given an opportunity to show cause in writing within fifteen days from the date of receipt of Annexure 1 as to why the proposed punishment for use of unfair n(sic)eans during the examination, be not confirmed. The petitioner in response to the notice Annexure 1, sent a letter dated September 24, 1979, (Annexure 2) in which he demanded copies of certain documents and informations, as according to him the documents and the informations sought were essential and relevant to his defence. It was stated in the letter that the documents and information sought would enable him to reply to Annexure 1. The petitioner inter alia demanded a copy of the report received from the Centre of Examination which is made as a basis of proposed penalty; a copy of the minutes of Result Committee which met to announce the result of the paper in which the petitioner appeared along with result sheet and a copy of the minutes of the Result Committee which met to decide the proposed penalty. In his case on the alleged charges of 'for possession of material and copying'. A copy of Annexure 2 was also sent to the Vice-Chancellor with the request that the Registrar may be directed to provide him the required informations and documents. The petitioner also submitted his representation dated July 27, 1979 (Annexure 3) to the Vice-Chancellor and reference thereof was given by the petitioner in his reply (Annexure 2) to the show cause notice. The petitioner averred that while he was still awaiting the supply of informations and documents to enable him to submit as effective reply-to the show cause notice (Annexure 1), the petitioner received Notification (Annexure 4) dated October 12, 1979, whereby he wan penalised and his present examination was cancelled and was further debarred from appearing in three subsequent semesters for having been found guilty of using unfairmeans in the Examination held on July 21, 1979. The petitioner challenged the Notification (Annexure 4) on the ground that the petitioner was not supplied the report of the invigilator; the report of the Centre Superintendent; the report of the Examiner; and the minutes of the Remit Committee. It was also stated that the Result Committee considered the entire material at the back of tie petitioner. The petitioner's main grievance is that the petitioner was not afforded adequate opportunity to present his case and he has been punished in disregard of principles of natural justice.
3. The respondents No. 1 and 2 submitted their reply to show cause notice wherein it was stated that in the examination held on July 21, 1979, the petitioner was found copying from a paper which was lying below his copy and paper. The invigilator noticed the petitioner copying and when he tried to take up the hand written paper, the petitioner resisted, in which process the hard written paper was torn into pieces. The petitioner was thus caught redhanded copying by the invigilator. The matter was reported to the Centre Superintendent, who interrogated the petitioner. The petitioner was confronted with the report made by the invigilator Shri U.G. Jain to the Centre Superintendent and his statement was recorded. On inquiry from the invigilator and from the statement of the petitioner, the Centre Superintendent was satisfied that the petitioner was found copying and the torn paper was taken by the invigilator. In his possession from which the petitioner was found copying. The respondents produced the form Ex. A/1 containing the report of the invigilator along with the statement of the petitioner and the report of the Centre Superintendent. The petitioner's case that Dr. U.C. Jain, who was not the invigilator, came to the Examination Hall to settle the personal score with the petitioner and that Dr. U.C Jain, had brought the paper from outside and snatched the answer bock and shouted that the petitioner was copying; and that the petitioner was dragged out physically by Dr. U.C. Jain, from the Examination Hall and was forced to sign on a paper the entries in the column whereof, were blank, was denied and it was stated that the story now invented by the petitioner, is absolutely a myth and in fact even contrary in some particulars to the application submitted to the Vice-Chancellor on July 27, 1979 It was, also stated that a perusal of the hand-written paper and the answer boot of the petitioner will show beyond doubt that the petitioner had copied from the handwritten paper. Subsequently the Result Committee, after examination of all the relevant material, was of the view that the petitioner was guilty of using unfair a ears and then proposed the aforesaid punishment. Thereafter notice Annexure 1 was given to the petitioner. The petitioner then sent the reply Ex. 2. It was submitted that instead of giving reply to the various allegations made against the petitioner, the petitioner applied for the copies of various documents, which were wholly irrelevant and the reply will show that the petitioner has not replied to the charges made against him. Thereupon, the Executive Committee of the University considered all the materials along with the reply Annexure 2 and found the petitioner guilty of using unfair means and the punishment proposed was confirmed. It was stated that the petitioner was given due opportunity before infliction of the punishment and there has been no violation of the principles of natural justice. It was further submitted that the norms of natural justice are not to be encased in a strait jacket of any right rule or formula but must be tailored to suit the requirement of the situation and the exigencies of the case. The petitioner was given notice at both the stages and thus was afford d full opportunity. The petitioner was supplied with the substance of the report of the invigilator as well as the Center Superintendent. Thus, the respondents justified the impugned Notification (Annexure 4) in the reply. The petitioner further filed rejoinder the reply to the show cause notice, in which the reiterated the stand taken by him earlier and refuted the averments made in the reply. The petitioner further stated that the petitioner on being interrogated answered question No. 1 in the Form Rule/1 Part II in 'No'. The question was as to whether the hand written paper was recovered from his possession, person, e(sic)tc. According to the, petitioner after reply to question No, 1, there was no further scope of any inquiry. The questions No. 2 and 3 were wholly irrelevant. In answers to questions No 2 and 3 he only stated 'In hand Only theory'. The petitioner's case further is that before the petitioner could complete the sentence Shri U.C. Jain snatched away Ex R/1. Thus, he could not write 'paper' and complete the sentence. The petitioner clarified what he meant to write was that 'he had only the question paper of theory in hand and no other paper' and according to the petitioner when he put his signatures on Ex. Rule/1, on first page, pages No. 1 and 2 were completely blank, except the petitioner's replies to the questions. The petitioner further stated that the demand of the documents and information was justified and on supply on the informations and documents, the petitioner would have proved that he is innocent and the entire case was concocted against him at the instance of Shri U.C. Jain. The petitioner submitted that no inquiry what so ever was held to the presence of the petitioner and the punishment has been awarded without following the principles of natural justice.
4. I have heard the learned Counsel for the parties Shri N.N. Mathur, learned Counsel for the petitioner, vehemently urged that the petitioner was not afforded adequate opportunity to meet the charges levelled against him. The petitioner had denied the recovery of any hand-written paper from him possession from the very beginning and when notice Annexure 1 was received he made a demand for supply of documents and informations mentioned in Annexure 2. No reply to that letter was given and without giving any opportunity of being beard, the petitioner was awarded punishment. Shri Mathur placed reliance on the decisions of this Court in Mahendra Mathur v. University of Udaipur and Ors. 1979 WLN (UC) 196 and in Bharat Vyas v. The University of Udaipur, Udaipur and Anr. S.B. Civil Writ Petition No. 1587/79, decided on March 12, 1180.
5. Shri Parekh, on the other hand, submitted that the petitioner was afforded full opportunity. It was not necessary for the University to have supplied the required it formations and documents, when the petitioner was already supplied with the gist of the various reports in Annexure 1 and was further confronted with the invigilator's report when he was interrogated. Shri Parekh submitted that elaborate inquiry, as is conducted in criminal trials, is not required to be made in the disciplinary proceedings conducted by the Educational Institutions. He urged that the requirements of the principle of natural justice, have been fully met in the present case in as much as the charges and the allegations were made known to the petitioner and the petitioner was given an opportunity to state his case. Not only that the petitioner was further afforded an opportunity against the proposed punishment. All other documents demanded in Annexure 2, were wholly Irrelevant and as regards the various reports, the gist was already supplied. Shri Parekh placed his strong reliance on the decisions of the Supreme Court in Board of High School and Intermediate Education, U P Allahabad and Anr. v. Bagleshwar Prasad and Anr. : 3SCR767 ; Prem Prakash Kaluniya v. The Punjab University AIR 1972 SC (sic)1408 and The Chairman, Board of Mining Examination and Chief Inspector of Mines and Anr. v. Ramjee : 2SCR904 .
6. It would appear from the respective cases of the parties and the rival submissions made by the learned Counsel for the parties that the only controversy between the p(sic)ertient in the present case is as to whether the petitioner had been afforded an adequate opportunity to meet the allegations and charges made against bam. It is not in dispute that the proceedings taken against the petitioner in respect of the unfair means alleged to have been adopted by him at the examination, are in the nature of quasi judicial proceedings and before awarding any punishment in such proceedings there should be observance of principles of natural justice. The delinquent candidate cannot be condemned unheard. In Board of High School and Intermediate Education, U.P. Allahabad v. Ghanshyam Das Gupta and Ors. : AIR1962SC1110 , their Lordships of the Supreme Court, while dealing with the case of an exam(sic)ince using unfair means in Examination Hall, held that the Examination Committee of the Board of High School and intermediate. Education, U.P., while dealing with such cases, is acting quasi-judicially and the principles of natural justice which require that the examinee must be heard, will apply to the proceedings before the Committee. It was further observed that though there is nothing express one any or the other in the Act or the Regulations casting a duty on the Committee to act judicially, the manner of the disposal based as it must be on materials placed before it, and she serious effects of the decision of the Committee on the examinee concerned, must lead to the conclusion that a duty is east on the Committee to act judicially in that matter, particularly as it has to decide objectively certain facts which may seriously effect the rights and careers of examinees, before it can take any action in the exercise of its power under Rule 1(1) of of Chap. VI of the U.P. Regulation. It was further observed that there is no doubt that many of the powers of the Committee under Chap VI are of administrative nature; but where quasi judicial duties are en(sic)nusted to an administrative body like this it becomes a quasi judicial body for performing those duties, and it can prescribe its own procedure so long as the principles of natural justice are followed and adequate opportunity of presenting his case is given to the examinee. In that case no opportunity whatsoever was given to the examinees to give an explanation and present their case before the Committee, so it was held that the decision allowing the writ petition on the ground that no opportunity was given to the respondents to put forward their cases before the Committee is correct. Consequently, the appeal of the Board was dismissed.
7. In Board of High School and Intermediate Education, U.P. Allahabad and Anr. v. Bagleshwar Prasad and Anr. supra on facts their Lordships held that the inquiry has been fair and the respondent had an opportunity of making his defence. In that case the respondent was called upon to appear before Sub Committee to answer the charge of having used unfair means in three papers. A charge was given to him and his explanation was obtained on the said charge. The charge was based on the fact that in Hindi 3rd paper, the respondent had given wrong answers to question No. 4 in precisely the some form In which the said answers had been given by a candidate whose Roll No. was 94733 and the respondent Roll Number was 94734. The respondent was shown the identical wrong answers to the said question, which was found in the two papers, and he was asked to explain about the said identity of the wrong answers. He admitted that the wrong answers appeared to be identical but he denied that he had used and unfair means. The Sub-Committee reported that the candidates of both the Roll Numbers had used unfair meant. There-upon the Board cancelled the respondent's examination. In that connection, their Lordships of the Supreme Court observed as under:
In dealing with petitions of this type. It is necessary to bear in mind that educational institutions like the Universities or appellant No. 1 set up Enquiry Committees to deal with the problem posed by the adoption of unfair means by candidates, and normally it is within the jurisdiction of such domestic Tribunals to decide all relevant questions in the light of the evidence adduced before them. In the matter of the adoption of unfair means, direct evidence may sometimes be available, but cases may arise where direct evidence it not available and the question will have to be considered in the light of probabilities and circumstantial evidence. This problem which educational institutions have to face from time to time is a serious problem and unless there is justification to do so, Courts should be slow to interfere with the decisions of the domestic Tribunals appointed by educational bodies like the Universities. In dealing with the validity of the impugned orders passed by Universities under Article 226, the High Court h not sitting in appeal over the decision in question; its jurisdiction is limited and though it is true that if the impugned order is not supported by any evidence at all, the High Court would be justified to quash that order. But the conclusion that the impugned order is not supported by any evidence must be reached after considering the question as to whether probabilities and circumstantial evidence do not justify the said conclusion. Enquiries held by domestic Tribunals in such cases must no doubt, be fair and students against whom charges are framed must be given adequate opportunities to defend themselves, and in holding such enquiries the Tribunals must scrupulously follow the rules of natural justice; but it would, we think, not be reasonable to import into these enquiries all considerations which govern criminal trials in ordinary Courts of law. In the present case, no animus is suggested and no malafides have been pleaded. The enquiry has been fair and the respondent has had and opportunity of making his defence. That being so, we think the High Court was not justified in interfering with the order passed against the respondent.
8. I may alto refers to another decision of the Supreme Court in Suresh Koshy George v. University of Kerala and Ors. : 1SCR1287 . In this case one of the ground, which was raised, was that the impugned order was invalid in as much as no copy of the report made by the second respondent, was made available to the appellant before he was called upon to submit his explanation in response to the show cause notice issued to him by the Vice-Chancellor. Their Lordships observed that, 'No rule either statutory or otherwise was brought to our notice which required the Vice-Chancellor to make available to she appellant a copy of the report submitted by the Inquiry Officer. It is not the case of the appellant that he asked for a copy of that report and that was denied to him. The rules of natural justice are not embodied rules. The question whether the requirement of natural juitice have been met by the procedure adopted In a given case must depend to a great extent on the facts and circumstances of the case in paint, the constitution of the Tribunals and the rules under which it functions.' In that case their. Lordships referred the following observations of Lord Harman, J, in Byrne v. Kinematograph Renters Society Ltd. 1958 (2) All ER 579:
What, then, are the requirements of natural justice in a case of this kind? First, I think that the person accused should know the nature of the accusation made; secondly that he should be given an opportunity to state his case; and thirdly, of course, that the tribunal should act in good, faith. I do not think that there really is anything more.
9. In Prem Prakash Kaluniya v. The Punjab University (supra) their Lordships followed the decision of Board of High School and Intermediate Education, U.P. Allahabad and Anr. v. Bagleshwar Prasad and Anr. (supra) and observed as under:
As regards the requirement of giving information of the precise charge, it had been pointed out by the learned Counsel for the appellant that the Standing Committee had come to the conclusion that the appellant as well as the other candidate Virender Singh had committed mistakes in the answer books while answering the question No. 1(b) and those mistakes were such which could be possibly made only when each had copied from a common source or from each other. It was urged that no such charge was conveyed to the appellant and he was therefore Dot in a position to adequately explain or meet that charge. The law on this point is well settled that an examinee must be adequately informed of the casa he has to meet and given a full opportunity of mee(sic)rins it. As to what the extent and content of that information should or ought lobe would depend on the facts of each case. The examinee can ask for more information or details with regard to the material or evidence which may be sought to be used against him and normally if he makes a request in that behalf, the University authorities in order to inform him adequately of the case he has to meet, would supply him the necessary particulars or details of the evidence. In the very nature of things no hard ad fast rule can be laid down and so long as the Court is satisfied that the opportunity which was afforded to the examinee was adequate and sufficient, it will not interfere with any orders prejudicial to him which may have been made by the University authorities.
10. In the Chairman, Board of Mining Examination and Chief Inspector of Mines and Anr. v. Ramjee (supra), their Lordships of the Supreme Court observed as under:
Natural justice is do unruly horse, no lurking land mine, nor a judicial cure-all. If fairness is shown by the decision maker to the man proceeded against the form, features and the fundamentals of such essential Procedural propriety being conditioned by the facts and circumstances of each situation, no breach of natural justice can be complained of. Unnatural expansion of natural justice, without reference to the administrative realities and other factors of a given care, can be exasperating. We can neither be finical nor fanatical but should be flexible yet firm in this Jurisdiction. No man shall be hit below the belt-that is the conscience of the matter.
These general observations roust be tested on the concrete facts of each case and every minuscule violations do not spell illegality. If the totality of circumstances satisfy the Court that the party visited with adverse order has not suffered from denial of reasonable opportunity the Court will decline to be punctilious or fanatical as if the rules of natural justice were sacred scriptures.
11. Coming to the decision of this Court with reference to the Rules framed by the Udaipur University in Mahendra Mathur v. University of Udaipur and Ors. 1979 WLN (UC) 196, on the facts of that case, it was observed that 'it was incumbent upon the respondents to have supplied the petitioner with the copies of the reports of the Invigilator and the Centre Superintendent, as well as the minutes of the meeting of the Results Committee held on 27th July, 1978 and In the absence of the said documents having been supplied to the petitioner, it can not be said that the petitioner was afforded an adequate opportunity to show cause against the proposed punishment.' The petitioner was requited to show cause in writing within seven days as to why the propered punishment for use of unfair means be not confirmed. The petitioner was reported to have used unfair means at the examination of course No. 611, held on April 10, 1978. On April 28, 1978, the Registrar of the University sent a communication to the petitioner, stating that the Centre Superintendent has made a report on April 10, 1978, alleging that the petitioner was cought red-handed while using a small sheet of white paper end whet, he was asked to hand over the same by the invigilator on duty, the petitioner had refused to hand over the sheet of paper. The Results Committee considered the matter and decided to cancel his present Semester Examination. The petitioner en receipt of the communication requested to the Registrar that be may be provided with copies of certain documents mentioned in the said letter. In that case, on facts, it was found that having regard to the procedure provided in the Rules, first opportunity was afforded to the candidate to offer his explanation to the report of the invigilator. In the first opportunity the petitioner kept mum and cid not offer any explanation. As regards the second opportunity, the Court held, as stated above end consequently the penalty of cancellation of examination was quashed.
12. In Bharat Vyas's case (supra) it was observed that in the circumstances of the case, it was necessary that the report of the examiner, who has confirmed that the petitioner had made use of the material, which was found on his table, should have been made available to the petitioner. It was further observed that leave apart, the material on the basis of which, the Results Committee came to the conclusion that the punishment mentioned in the memorandum (Annexure-1) was proposed to be awarded to the petitioner, subject to the approval of the Executive Committee, was also not made available to the petitioner. On facts of that case it was observed that,
The petitioner was not adequately informed of she case, he bad to meet and was not given full opportunity to meet it. Apart from this, after the issuance of memorandum (Annexure-1), it was definitely the case of the petitioner that he had not copied it. No enquiry was held by the authorities in this regard, which in the facts and circumstances of this case was necessary. Before cancelling the examination of she petitioner, it should have been made apparent from the notification (Annexme-1) reasons that prevailed with the Executive Committee to approve the recommendation of the Remits Committee. Here, in this case, neither the report of the examiner nor the recommendation of the Results Committee, nor the order of the Executive Committee cancelling the examination were given to the petitioner. Having regard to the reply of the petitioner, the enquiry was necessary, and for that purpose full opportunity ought to have been afforded to the petitioner to meet the case against him by making the material available to him which was sought to be used against him. I am unable to sustain the notification (Annexure-1) cancelling the examination of the petitioner.
13. From the law, as enunciated by the decisions on the subject, it would be clear that the question as to whether in a given proceeding principles of natural justice, have been satisfied or not, would depend on the facts and circumstances of each case. In present case, so far as the first opportunity is concerned, is cannot be said that that opportunity was not afforded to the petitioner. The petitioner was taken to the Centre Superintendent and he was not required to write in his own hand the answers to questions No. 1 to 4 in the Farm Ex. Rule/1. The petitioner has put his signature beneath his answers. It does not appear to be correct that the petitioner was not shown the report of the invigilator. In fact the four questions are suggestive of the fact that the two pieces of the manuscript were shown to him and he was asked as to whether he had made use of the manuscript or not? It is true that the petitioner while replying the first question has given the answer in the negative, bat while answering questions 2 and 3 it does not appear that he intended to answer that the paper in hand was the theory paper. There was no used of replying questions No. 2 and 3 when he had already denied recovery of any manuscript from his possession. In any view of the matter, at least an opportunity to answer the allegation that a manuscript was found in his possession and he made use of the same, was afforded to him.
14. So far as the second opportunity is concerned, the crucial question which needs consideration, is whether without replying to Annexure 2, wherein certain documents and informations were sought, the University was justified to proceed to award punishment and can it be said that an adequate opportunity was afforded to the petitioner to present his case, it may be pointed out that petitioner had not only denied the recovery, but has also come forward with the case that concerned invigilater wanted to settle personal scores with him when the petitioner had sought inform atlons and documents, in my opinion, it was necessary for the respondents to have given reply to Annexure 2 clarifying it to the petitioner as to what documents are irrelevant and what documents need not be supplied, as the gist of the various reports has already been stated in the show cause notice Annexure 1. It is pertinent to n(sic)te that the petitioner had categorically stated in Annexure 2 that he is seeking the requisite documents and information in order to enable him to reply the show cause notice and which according to him, are relevant for his defence. The petitioner could be considered to be under the belief that a reply of Annexure could be forth coming either complying to it or denying its compliance for reasons, which may be stated In the reply, when there has been failure on the part of the University to reply to Annexure 2, it cannot be said that the petitioner had been afforded an adequate opportunity to present his case. I may mention here that in case the University would have replied to Annexure 2 by informing that the gist of the various reports f(sic)rod mention in Annexure and the other documents and informations sought ere not relevant, perhaps a different conclusion could have teen reached. I need not dilate on it any more, as much mould depend en the questions with regard to the relevancy of the documents and the informations In the instant case, as there has been complete failure to give any reply to Annexure 2, I am firmly and clearly of the opinion that principles of natural justice have net been ratislled, more particularly when the petitioner had reserved his right to make his effective defence contemplating that the requisite documents and informations would be forth coming. In this view of the matter the writ petition deserves to be allowed.
15. In the result, the writ petition is allowed. The Notification (Annexure 4) awarding punishment of cancellation of the present examination and debarring the petitioner from appearing in three subsequent semesters, is quashed. However, it would be open to the University to proceed to take action in due regard to the principles of natural justice and in accordance with law.